The Top 6 Reasons Families Decide to Prearrange Now

Posted March 22, 2016

5 min read

This is a guest post from Alyssa McNab, the Digital Marketing Specialist for Homesteaders Life Company. In her role, McNab creates digital and social media content for Homesteaders. Homesteaders is a national leader providing life insurance products and services that promote and support the funding of advance funeral planning and end-of-life expenses. Visit their website for more information.

Research shows that individuals who prearrange their funerals are not only satisfied with their decision to do so – they’re also very likely to share their positive experiences with friends and family members. Consider the following results from a 2015 survey of more than 1,200 Homesteaders Life Company policy owners:

  • 96% of policy owners reported they are “completely” or “very” satisfied with their decision to prearrange.
  • 96% of policy owners would at least consider recommending prearranging, and more than 40% of them already had by the time they responded to the survey.

These statistics clearly demonstrate the advantage funeral professionals stand to gain by communicating with families about advance funeral planning. In addition to helping firms lock in business for the future, an active pre-need program can also earn increased referrals from families who have positive experiences with the funeral home.

But how can funeral professionals help their communities understand the benefits of prearranging in an environment that is increasingly cluttered with marketing messages?

The most effective communications reach the right people to make a compelling case for a service they really want – at the right time. This requires an understanding of the reasons behind when people decide to complete their advance funeral plans.

To help us identify which factors are most important in the timing of the decision to prearrange, we also asked our 2015 survey respondents to tell us:

“What is the main reason you decided to make these plans now, instead of last year or next year?”

Their top responses can help funeral professionals serve more families by reaching them with meaningful, timely messages about advance funeral planning:

1. A family member or friend died recently.

People may not consider advance funeral planning a priority until prompted by the experience of a loss. In our survey of policy owners, 23% of respondents indicated they decided to make advance funeral plans because a friend or family member had recently died. This underscores the importance of ensuring that people who have an experience at your funeral home know about the benefits of your pre-need services.

2. They finally knew what arrangements they wanted.

For some respondents (17%), the call to action to prearrange was that they had decided on their arrangement preferences. Be sure that client families who express interest in prearranging understand they may change their plans at a later date if desired.

3. They finally had the money to do it.

Other respondents (13%) indicated that their finances played a role in deciding when to prearrange. Ensure families understand all of their funding and payment plan options so they have the information they need to make decisions about the financial component of the process.

4. Their spouses wanted to prearrange.

Many people choose to make advance funeral plans at the same time as their spouses. Ten percent of survey respondents indicated that they decided to prearrange because their spouse was ready to finalize his or her plans. When working with couples, ensure that both clients are engaged in the process and walk away from the experience satisfied.

5. They have a serious/terminal illness.

Like the recent death of a friend or a family member, a serious/terminal illness is a significant event that causes people to consider their end-of-life plans. Six percent of our survey respondents cited this as the main reason for prearranging when they did.

6. They received a call/mail about prearranging.

Some people who are interested in advance funeral planning may just need a well-timed reminder to put their plans in place. A call or mailing about prearranging was the key factor in the decision to prearrange for 5% of our survey respondents. Keep in mind that, although marketing messages were the main factor for a relatively small percentage of respondents, these efforts may have also been contributing factors to other respondents’ decisions to prearrange when they did.

Understanding what motivates people to make advance funeral plans isn’t just important when crafting marketing messages – it’s also part of providing exceptional service throughout the prearrangement process. By demonstrating that you know what matters to your client families, you’ll earn loyal advocates who will be more likely to recommend your services to others.

About Alyssa McNab

Alyssa McNab is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Homesteaders Life Company. Celebrating its 110th year of business in 2016, Homesteaders is a national leader providing life insurance products and services to promote and support the funding of advance funeral planning and end-of-life expenses.

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